How To Stop Squirrels From Chewing Wood (Do This!)

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins
Squirrels love to chew walnuts and, for that matter, wood as well. They chew wood to help their teeth health, but they have no consideration for what it does to your home. Whether you use cayenne pepper or garlic sprays, let’s take a look at what you can do to keep squirrels from chewing wood.

Wood is a material that is important to many different animals, including squirrels, as it helps to file their continually growing teeth. Therefore, you may see teeth marks from squirrels on places like your deck, fencing, birdhouse posts, wood siding, and more. But you can stop these creatures from chewing your wood by taking a few steps.

To stop squirrels from chewing your wood, cut down trees and bushes that help squirrels gain access to any wood that’s higher up. Then, place porcupine wire where the squirrels usually sit while chewing your wood—spread repellent where the squirrels chew as well as a taste deterrent.

While squirrels themselves are relatively harmless, they do cause damage to wood on your property. Let this article serve as a guide to help you keep these mischievous creatures from chewing your wood. Additionally, we’ve added several alternative methods to deter their chewing as well.

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How To Stop Squirrels From Chewing Wood

  • Cut trees and bushes that extend 8 feet from your roof. Squirrels can jump about eight feet, so you will need to trim any hedges or tree branches that extend toward your house. This is especially true if you’ve noticed any wood siding high up on your home that has chew marks. This will prevent them from gaining access to the area.
  • Place porcupine wire where the squirrels sit. Observe where the squirrels tend to sit when they’re knawing on the wood and place porcupine wire over those areas. This helps protect the ledges so they can’t sit on them to gnaw.
  • Apply a tactile repellent. Use a repellent such as Birds Away and place it where the squirrels tend to chew. It’s a very sticky and thick material that the squirrel won’t want to get stuck in their coat, so they will most likely avoid this spot.
  • Spray a taste deterrent. In addition, you can spray a taste deterrent such as Ropel on the areas of the wood. This makes it so the wood doesn’t taste good, and they will eventually stop trying to chew the sites with this on it.
  • (Optional) Apply roofing cement. If you want to take it one step further, you can always apply roofing cement to the areas in which the squirrels chew. They hate the taste of tar, so they will eventually stop chewing.

Different Types Of Squirrel Repellents

There are a few different types of repellents that you can try.

Spray And Liquid Repellents

You can treat the wood with a type of spray that’s specially designed to deter squirrels, or you can use a bird and rodent repellent that is called Ropel. Either way, this usually stops the squirrels as well as other animals from chewing on your wood.

Homemade Repellents

Something else you can do is create your own repellent by crushing 1 cup of chili peppers in 1 gallon of water. You will then want to place a cover on the container and put it in the sun for about a week. When that week is up, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth and pour it into a water bottle to apply.

You can also place mothballs around the wooden area that they chew or use cat or dog hair and make clumps as big as grapefruit. Then, place them around the areas to release the scent of a dog or cat, which will make the squirrel unlikely to come around.

Alternative Natural Repellents For Squirrels

If you don’t want to use a chemical-based repellent, that’s okay too. You can always use a natural, alternate method to keep these pesky little creatures from chewing your wood. Therefore, below is a list of natural repellent ideas to use instead.

  • Cayenne Pepper or hot pepper solutions
  • Garlic sprays
  • Apple cider vinegar spray
  • Diaper rash cream

There are several different ways to apply each method, as well. So, you can get creative with each one if you wish to ensure that the squirrels stop chewing your wood.

Cayenne Pepper Or Hot Pepper Solutions

The first best way to stop squirrels from chewing your wood is by using a hot pepper plant solution that you can apply as a deterrent. They work wonderfully, and you can apply them in various ways, such as:

  • Putting crushed red pepper flakes around the ground near the wood. Place the crushed red pepper flakes around on the ground near the wood that they tend to chew on. You can do the same thing around the other wood fixtures they haven’t quite gotten to yet for protection.
  • Mix cayenne pepper and petroleum jelly. Mix both petroleum jelly and cayenne pepper together so that you can spread it on the wooden areas of your home and décor. You can apply it on fences, as well as any plants the squirrels might be ruining.
  • Create a cayenne pepper spray. Mix a gallon of water with some hot sauce that contains cayenne pepper or ghost pepper. Put it into a spray bottle and spray it on the wood where the squirrels like to chew, as well as any plant in your garden.

After it rains, you will need to apply these methods since the rain will wash it away. Additionally, reapplying at least every two weeks is highly recommended regardless of the weather.

Garlic Sprays

Garlic has an extremely strong odor that will make the squirrels think twice about chewing your wood. You can buy a jar of minced garlic and mix it with white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar. This mixture will be so pungent that the squirrels won’t want to eat your wood.

Just mix it up and put it into a spray bottle. Then, you can go and spray it on any surfaces that you want the squirrels to stop chewing on. However, before applying it, you will want to let the mixture sit for several days so that the flavors can combine. This is also safe to use on your plants as well.

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

Apple cider vinegar is intensely acrid in taste and smell, which will make squirrels turn away from any wood you want to apply it on. It’s great to put on the wood as well as any areas that are infested with squirrels. However, you don’t want to put it on your plants as it will kill them.

Diaper Rash Cream

Another interesting way to keep squirrels from chewing on surfaces is by applying diaper rash cream to the area. You can mix this with hot water and put it in a spray bottle to get the zinc oxide to penetrate the wood.

The zinc oxide helps give a numbing effect to the squirrel’s tongue, will discourage it from chewing that area. Instead of diaper rash cream, you can also use potent lotion instead. It still produces that same bitter flavor, which will keep them from wanting to chew on the wood.

Keep Squirrels Away Using Plants

Using certain bulbs can help to keep squirrels out of a particular area. Of course, this means you would need to place several plants in the areas where the squirrels like to chew.

Squirrels avoid certain plants and bulbs because they don’t like the smell or the taste of that particular plant. So, if you plant these near the wood they like to chew, they may just avoid this area altogether.

Some bulbs you can plant to repel squirrels are:

  • Hyacinths
  • Allium
  • Geranium
  • Peppermint
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Daffodils

However, these plants don’t only repel squirrels, but they repel insects such as mosquitoes, especially the peppermint. Squirrels dislike the smell and taste of peppermint, so this will help to deter them. If you don’t want to plant a peppermint plant, you can use peppermint essential oils. This works just as great, if not better, due to the strength of the oil.

You can soak some cotton balls in the oils for the peppermint solution and lay them on the wood. Or you can also put 100% oil into the spray bottle and spray it on the wood if you wish instead.

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Wrapping It up

Squirrels are fun to observe, but they can be extremely pesky when they decide to chew on your wooden fence or the wooden siding of your home. By applying different taste deterrents and squirrel repellents, you can keep them from chewing on your wood.

Moreover, if you found that they like to chew in a higher area on top of your home or shed, then you may also need to trim your trees and bushes back a bit. Don’t forget any vine placements at the front that they can climb up. This will keep them from reaching the spots higher up in your home.

While it’s possible, you could always resort to traps, but these should be humane catch and release traps. But the most effective way overall is by using chemical sprays to keep the squirrels from chewing and the natural methods that we’ve listed. We hope this guide has been helpful to you; good luck!

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Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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